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Baker v. Romero

55 So. 3d 1035 (2011)

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Baker v. Romero

Louisiana Court of Appeal

55 So. 3d 1035 (2011)

Facts

Rogerist and Carol Romero (defendants) purchased a plot of land in 1987. The Romeros believed that they were purchasing all of the land contained within certain boundaries. Unbeknownst to the Romeros, another family apparently had owned a forty-foot strip of land that was adjacent to the Romeros’ tract and that was within the boundaries that the Romeros’ believed marked the extent of their property. The Romeros took possession of all of the land within the boundaries, including the forty-foot strip, from 1987 onward. In 2006, Lyn Baker (plaintiff) purportedly purchased the forty-foot strip from her relatives for $10. Baker then notified the Romeros of her claimed ownership and informed them that she would be sending a surveyor to survey the land in question. The Romeros disputed Baker’s claim and would not allow the surveyor onto their land to access and survey the disputed strip. Baker then filed a petition for injunctive relief against the Romeros, and a complicated series of legal proceedings followed this first action. Eventually a trial took place, in which Baker asserted that she had a chain of title for the disputed land that stretched back to a sheriff’s tax sale in 1885. The trial court held that Baker had failed to prove a chain of title stretching back to a grant of land by a sovereign and therefore had failed to meet the required burden of proof to assert ownership against the Romeros’ possession. Baker appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Keaty, J.)

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